Inside the grand plan for Nairobi’s populous, old Eastlands estates

An artist’s impression of the planned housing project in Nairobi’s Eastland’s area.

The government has unveiled an ambitious multi-billion shilling project that seeks to overhaul the housing and infrastructure development in the sprawling 3,000 acres Eastlands estates in Nairobi.

On Friday, the Ministry of Housing gave stakeholders 60 days to give their comments on the redevelopment of Eastlands before the final plan is adopted for implementation.

The ambitious project, dubbed the ‘Eastlands Urban Renewal Plan’, proposes a development control guideline that seeks to put up bungalows, flats, maisonettes and recreational centres.

Under the project, the ministry and county government seek to put up 117,000 houses to replace the 15,000 that are in the area, that houses approximately 55,000 households in 18 public estates and private 14.

Mega housing

In the plan in possession of the Sunday Standard, the ministry plans to have the project start once the final report is adopted by the Nairobi County government.

The mega housing and infrastructure plan project is part of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda on housing, which seeks to build one million houses by 2022. Housing Principal Secretary Charles Hinga said part of the project has began in Parklands area and once the plan is completed it will be linked as part of the elaborate revival of the area.

“We are moving with time to deliver President Kenyatta’s housing project, we want to redevelop Eastlands to be in tandem with the current plan of modernising the city,” said Hinga.

Slums project

The plan notes that Eastlands, which was developed in precolonial times was undergoing urban decay occasioned by dilapidated and inadequate housing, old and insufficient infrastructure and services that were obsolete and the proliferation of slums social decadence project. The ministry’s programme targets 18 estates including Kimathi, Racecourse, Makadara (Hamza), Ngara, Majengo, Eastleigh, Buruburu and Mbotela; majority of the estates formerly owned by the Nairobi City council and the National Housing.

These estates will have bungalows, flats and mansionates, financed through national government funding, the county government marching funds, Kenya Mortgage Financing Company and a Public Private Partnership (PPP).

The incremental renewal tax, municipal bonds, foreign investors, tenant purchase, saccos purchase and site and service schemes will be other models to finance the ambitious project.

Other estates facing the revival include Ushirika, Rabai Road, New Pumwani, Kayole Ndogo, Bahati, Uhuru Phase three and four, Juja A and B, Harambee and Pangani.

Modern Gikomba market

Among priority areas is building of a modern Gikomba market, and the national government priority estates of Shauri Moyo, Makongeni and Starehe.

The county-owned estates priority area dubbed the Makadara node will first deal with the seven estates of Bahati, Maringo, Ziwani, Gorofani, Bondeni, Jericho and Lumumba.

Hinga said during the period of the project, those currently with houses there will see the government relocation options that include the government fund the hiring of temporary accommodation for those affected.

County leasing of temporary accommodation, compensation and offer of new units are part of relocation options for the thousands of households that will be affected by the Eastlands revival.

In the plan are Gikomba, Jericho, Mwariro, Jogoo Road markets and Kamkunji Jua Kali light industry. Some of the institutions to be expanded as part of the renewal plans include St Patrick, Dr Krapft, St John, Morrison, Bahati, Pumwani, Race Course and Kaloleni primary schools that cumulatively have 62 acres from its current 40.6 acres. Some 28 primary schools will retain their current land sizes.

A similar case will apply to 14 secondary schools with increased acres but six tertiary institutions to Nairobi Tech Institute, Institute of fine art, SOS Technical Institute, YMCA, CIT College and KAG University will retain their 394 acres.

In the ambitious plan are 24 roads including Jogoo, Landhies, Lusaka, Buruburu, Eldoret, Ahero Street, General Waruinge, Juja Likoni Ambira, Eastleigh First Avenue and Bondo Street.

Others are Heshima, Mumias South, Muinami, Muratina, Nile, Nyasa, Quarry, Rabai and Ring Road, which will be widened by between five to 25 metres in what could see massive clearing on the road side and possible demolitions.

On healthcare, the revival plan intends to expand Jericho, Bahati, Pumwani, NCCG Makadara and Jerusalem health centres and Mbotela and Makongeni clinic.

The eight facilities will be equipped with 125 hospital personnel while Maringo and Ofafa will be upgraded to level four to cater for the population.

Recreational facilities at City Stadium, Majimbo Playground in Kaloleni, Camp Toyoyo in Lumumba and Kamukunji Grounds in Shauri Moyo will also be expanded from 29 to 46 acres of land.

Other additional recreational facilities will be built in Makadara, Majengo, Bahati and Lumumba.

There will also be additional police posts in Mbotela, Bondeni and Bahati to augment Jogoo Road, Makongeni, Shauri Moyo, Pangani, New Pumwani and Buru Buru police stations as well as a new home for the elderly in Bahati and Majengo.